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Lance Cpl. Nigel Warren, a field artillery cannoneer with Battery L, 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, holds his infant daughter, Adlina, just before boarding the bus and the beginning of a seven-month deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom May 7. ::r::::n::

Photo by Cpl. Andrew S. Avitt

Marines deploy effective artillery to Afghanistan

18 May 2010 | Cpl. Andrew S. Avitt Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

For most of the Marines with Battery L, 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, the place they were headed only existed in the news and rumor mill.

In a short time, however, Afghanistan will be as real to them as the loved ones they were holding, close in their arms at the Del Valle softball field May 7.

The battery, which is headed to Afghanistan for a seven-month deployment, to support maneuver elements, is made of the right stuff to get the mission done, said Lt. Col. Eduardo Abisellan, the battalion’s commanding officer.

“Lima three-twelve is well trained and well led with a tremendous reputation,” Abisellan said to the departing battery. “I know you’re ready to do what needs to be done.”

The battery began preparing as soon as they heard about the upcoming deployment nearly nine-months ago. Some of their training included split-battery operations, provisional infantry tactics and a slew of other predeployment training.

“We are going to make some good things happen,” said 1st Sgt. Celestine Casias the first sergeant of Battery L. “These Marines know what they are doing. Their fire is accurate, it’s fast and it’s effective.”

“What we have been working on and working for is ethical muscle memory,” Casias said. “So that in combat when we are dealing with right or wrong, we have trained Marines to make the right decision,” he said.

For the majority of Marines with Battery L, the deployment will be a change of pace, since about 90 percent of the battery hasn’t deployed before, Casias said.

“I’ve got mixed emotions right now,” said Cpl. Steven Earnest, a motor transport operator with Battery L. “My wife doesn’t want me to go, but I’ll be back soon enough. The first month or two is always the hardest. I heard where we are going is going to be rugged.”

Rugged or not, Earnest said, he is as confident as his leaders that his battery will do great things while deployed.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms